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I wanted to get a second opinion on this. We had a apartment…

Hi, I wanted to get...
Hi, I wanted to get a second opinion on this. We had a apartment complex which gave a key to a painting company which they hired and sent them in our apartment while we were gone on a trip. The painters took our stuff and of course dirty the apartment. So now we are asking the apartment company to compensate us for the stuff they took. The apartment place asked for a list with replacement prices which we gave them, now they come back and the stuff magically appeared. So they are asking us to come get the stuff and if there was anything missing to file with the sheriffs apartment.So we really don't want the stuff now because of it being gone for weeks and isn't the apartment company responsible?
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Answered in 31 minutes by:
10/17/2017
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 31,278
Experience: Attorney
Verified

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

The apartment company is unfortunately not responsible for the criminal acts of third parties, even when they let them into the apartment, because they let them in to do work. In order to get a judgment against them, you'd have to prove specifically who took your items. That's difficult when you weren't there, especially since there were multiple people coming in and out.

I understand why you're not sure about taking back the items, but if you were to go to court, a judge would likely not enter a judgment in your favor based on what you've said. And if they told the judge that they located the items and you refused to take them back, the judge might find that you're precluded from recovery. Court is about being made whole. Getting your items back would make you whole in this situation.

I apologize that this was probably not the Answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand. Please rate my answer positively to ensure I am paid for the time I spent answering your question. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. Thank you.

Good luck.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I didn't get to include the part were the apartment complex thought we had moved out when we had paid till the end of the month. In other words they screwed up in the apartment office when they sent them in with out our permission or notice or anything. So what if the beds are damaged or dirty etc. We would still be forced to take them back or can we demand that they cleaned them? They did have these things for 4 weeks and probably in somebody's home being used.

You can ask that they pay for cleaning, because they have to return your belongings in the same condition they were in when they left.

The fact that the apartment complex thought the place was empty only makes a difference if you can prove that they took everything out of the apartment by mistake. Your initial question made it sound like the painting company stole everything. Theft and negligence are two different lawsuits, and to win either, you have to be able to prove what most likely happened. If the apartment complex admits they took everything out because they thought you left, that would help - but you still have to accept the items back.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Hello, Just to update you. The apartment complex did give the key to the painters and instructed them to go in to paint with out our approval or notice and they pretty much told us that they screwed up because we have the girl on audio tape saying that "They were not suppose to go in there". And since they checked with the painter's the stuff is back. We are going over today to see what is there and any damages. We contacted our local news last night and they are very interested in the story.So I am sure not everything is back and we are going to demand that they clean the couch and the beds, if they are there and ours.Any damage also, we will continue to ask them to replace the items that would be damaged or missing. Since the apartment office screwed up by sending the guys in, if I understand the law, that is were they are responsible for them at that point. Unless it's a different law in each state? So, naturally we did not want the stuff back, but we will take it back if it is in the same condition. But I would bet this has happened a lot in that complex.
And the good news is the news wants us to be on the news. They were ready to meet us today there and to film, but we thought we would see what is there first and then we are suppose to call them.

It's great the news is interested! Bringing public light to what the apartment complex did is a great way to put pressure on them. It might make them more willing to pay to have the items cleaned/repaired without you having to go to court.

Since they admitted negligence, they're going to be responsible either way, but it tends to be better if you can get payment without going to court. That saves you the time of collecting a judgment later.

Please rate my answer positively to ensure I get credit for the time I spend helping. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. Thank you.

Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 31,278
Experience: Attorney
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Hi Lucy,
I had a follow up question. We had done the thing with the media. We know we are suppose to get our deposit back, so that is good. Now they are asking us again if we want the broken, busted furniture. Our guess is probably not, we did not want to do anything to damage our case. And we are now looking for a good lawyer to hear our case and get things going. But should we get our stuff? And what would be the best way to get a lawyer to give us a free first consult?

As I said earlier, refusing to pick up your items could reduce your recovery. It's different if it's broken an unusable - but then you'll need pictures showing the condition so you can prove to the judge why you didn't take it back.

Many lawyers give a free consult. The best way to find out is to call and ask. Keep in mind that many lawyers do not take small claims cases because the cost of legal fees can quickly exceed what you're asking for.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Well all the beds and the couch were returned, but they were all damaged and torn and scruffed and soiled. We do have pictures. They know they screwed up but have been trying to shove us on the painting company. It seems like they sent them into our apartment by mistake, they were suppose to go into another apartment. We have audio of this. They are giving us back our deposit. Even the sheriff's office agreed that this would be a civil case. So the apartment place simply needs to pay us for our stuff which comes out to be $7800.00 But I didn't know if I should send a formal letter first asking them to pay and why r should we go a head and get a lawyer?

They owe you the cost of repairing the damage to anything that can be repaired and the reasonable value of anything that cannot.

A lawyer in this situation would probably cost more than $7,800, but you can call around if you'd like to hire someone. That's entirely up to you.

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